Nigeria’s top biotechnology regulator said his agency won’t be cowed by the anti-GMO activism that has picked up steam as two GM crops near approval.
Dr. Rufus Ebegba, director-general of the National Biosafety Development Agency (NBMA), said his agency will not be bullied or blackmailed by sentiments, speculations or hearsay that aren’t backed by scientific findings and tangible, verifiable facts.
Ebegba, speaking in an exclusive interview with the Alliance for Science, was addressing a recent article in Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper. Written by Chika Okeke, it was riddled with outrageous errors and falsehoods that presented a totally distorted picture of GMOs.
In spite of the sentiments being expressed by some people, Nigeria is on its way to joining the league of nations that are currently benefitting from the application of modern biotechnology, Ebegba said.
His remarks came as Nigeria gears up for the commercialization of its first GM crops: cowpea and cotton that include a gene from Bacillus thuringiences, (Bt), a soil bacterium commonly used in organic pest control. Bt crops allow farmers to reduce pesticide use because they are inherently resistant to destructive insect pests, such as the pod borer and bollworm that prey on cowpea and cotton, respectively. Read more